Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Red As Any Blood--Part 49

Ryke walked through the ruined streets of Laodegan Town, smiling to himself.  A great victory and it was all his.  True most of the townsfolk had fled with the foodstores, and ruined what they couldn't take with them... but they had Laodegan Town again.

Even if parts of it were on fire.

He chuckled to himself.  "Well, Bres, how is this for results?" he declared loftily.

The ratlike Prince's Man nodded.  "Quite nice.  Except for the rebels all fleeing to the hills leaving us where we were before all this started, more or less.  But, well, you know, one can't expect everything to get done, now can you?"

Ryke frowned at that.  "You've a nasty sense of humor for a failure, you know that?"

"Every man must have his strengths, sir," said Bres quietly.

"And what are yours?" snapped Ryke.  "Petty spite?"

Bres gave a slight bow.  "I leave it for you to determine, sir."

Ryke waved him away.  The man retreated quickly.  He would have to watch that one, Ryke decided.  That was how it was in the Prince's Men--one enemy thwarted, a new enemy appeared.  And within the ranks, always within the ranks. 

But that was for later.  For now, he would merely bask in this victory.  He noticed a soldier carrying a big cask, and gestured at him to stop.  "Oy, man!  What's that?"

"Ale sir," answered the soldier.  "I found some that the Tintagelians didn't spoil."

Ryke smiled at him.  "I'll have to requisition that as your commander."

The soldier put the cask down.  "Understood, sir."

"Very good," said Ryke with a chuckle.  "You seem to be a clever man...?"  He gestured to the soldier to give his name.

"Mauritz, sir," answered the soldier.  "And well, I like to think I can spot winners.  And the men worth fighting for."

Ryke had to laugh at that.  Another good sign, on a day full of them.

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